Baseball-sized Hail
We recently took on an Indianapolis, Indiana client, “Susan,” that had an unforgettable experience with a repair contractor after a hailstorm damaged her home.  This blog will tell her story, and explain how Company Due Diligence and Background Checks can save you cash and spare you angst.

On an all too typical June evening in Indianapolis, Indiana, a severe storm rolled into town.  Rain and thunderstorms prevailed and the roof of Susan’s house was no match for the baseball-sized hail that accompanied the gale.  With visible damage to the shingles, and fear of impending leaks, Susan immediately called her insurance company.  As the directed, she took immediate photos of the damage, and began the process to get contractor repair quotes. 

Unfortunately, Susan did not know the importance of company due diligence or background checks, and made a few mistakes in the contractor selection process.  As you know, emergency roof repair is not inexpensive.  There is labor, materials, and overhead, besides profit margin, and companies who know they are being paid by an insurance company may not offer the most competitive pricing that a frugal consumer might usually shop for.

First, when the first bidding contractor, “Shady Roof Repair,” came to look at her roof, Susan unwittingly mentioned the exact amount the insurance company pre-approved her for complete re-roofing project.  Is it any surprise that the bid came in just $51 shy of that amount?

Second, in her haste to avoid interior damage, Susan hired the first local company that quoted the repair.  Shady Roof Repair seemed experienced and knowledgeable, gave a quote that was accepted by the insurance company, and could start the repair on a moment’s notice.  They met all of the needs Susan could think of, so she didn’t think twice about foregoing a few extra quotes.  TIP:  Even without performing company due diligence or background checks, it’s always best to get at least 3 estimates for home repair.

Finally, Shady Roof Repair convinced Susan to pay them in full before any of the roofing repair work began. When Susan saw the crew of workers arrive as scheduled, she left for work, presuming that her roofing work was completed as promised.  However, observant at-home neighbors quickly filled Susan in that the roofers did not appear to strip the entire roof, but rather performed only patchwork repairs in a handful of places, and left her site by noon.  Susan called Shady Roof Repair to inquire about the alleged shortcuts, but they assured her that they completed the entire roof.

Three weeks later, when the next Indianapolis storm rolled in for the evening, Susan’s living room ceiling began leaking at an alarming rate, the drywall was buckling, and her entire room’s ceiling was threatening to cave.  Not surprisingly, Susan’s calls to Shady Roof Repair went unanswered. 

With our sleuths putting pressure on the contractor and insurance company, Susan eventually was able to get the damage fixed and repairs completed, however, the emotional stress of being taken advantage of and the extra repairs that were necessary weighed heavily on her.  As it turned out, Shady Roof Repair had a history of complaints and performing incomplete work that we could have easily made Susan aware of on the front end through company due diligence.  Furthermore, for the safety of your property and your family, it is a best practice to have a background check conducted on anyone who will enter your home.  Whether you have the time and expertise to do this yourself, or whether one of our Indianapolis Private Investigators can help you, please do not become a statistic like Susan.  All too often, companies like Shady are lurking about fishing for an easy target. 

Michael R. HathawayCFE, CAMS, P.I.